‘In Talks for Vaccine Approval’: Pfizer Donates $70 Mn Worth Aid
A letter to the Pfizer employees by Chairman & CEO Albert Bourla stated his heart went out to the people of India.
Pharma giant Pfizer on Monday, 3 May said that it was in talks with the Indian government for approval of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine and had donated USD 70 million worth of medications and other medical supplies to India to be used for free across public hospitals in the country.
In an open letter to the employees shared by Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO, Pfizer, he said that his heart went out to the people of India.
“We are deeply concerned by the critical COVID-19 situation in India and our hearts go out to you, your loved ones, and all the people of India. The country currently has the highest rate of infection and hospitalization in the world and the immediate need is to treat those who are suffering in hospitals across the country. We are committed to being a partner in India's fight against the disease and are quickly working to mobilize the largest humanitarian relief effort in our company’s history,” Bourla said.
He further said that Pfizer colleagues at distribution centres in the US, Europe and Asia were hard at work, rushing shipments of medicines that the Government of India identified as a part of its COVID-treatment protocol.
“We are donating these medicines to make sure that every COVID-19 patient in public hospitals across the country has access to the Pfizer medicines they need free of charge. This includes steroid medications to reduce inflammation, anticoagulants to help prevent blood clotting and antibiotics that treat secondary bacterial infections,” Bourla said, adding that the effort had the potential to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients across India over the next 90 days.
“These medicines, valued at over $70 million, will be made available immediately, and we will work closely with the government and our NGO partners to get them to where they are needed most,” he said.
‘Discussing an Expedited Approval Pathway for Pfizer Vaccines’
Bourla further said that it was unfortunate the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine was still awaiting approval in India despite applying for it months ago.
“Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical in this pandemic. Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago. We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make out Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine available for use in the country,” he said.
Pfizer Willing to Sell Vaccine at Not-For-Profit Price
In a statement put out by a company spokesperson on 22 April, Pfizer had said that it was in discussions with the central government to bring its vaccines to India. The US pharmaceutical giant had said was willing to provide its COVID-19 vaccines to India at a discounted ‘not-for-profit’ price.
The development came at a time when India is relaxing its regulations for vaccines considering the surge in COVID cases and an acute shortage of vaccines and oxygen supply in the healthcare infrastructure in the country.
The Centre had said that it was fast-tracking emergency-use approvals (EUA) for foreign-produced COVID vaccines.
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